How many of us wish we could sail smoothly through life but instead find our blood pressure rising when our best laid plans go awry? Non-specific disorders attributed to stress are rising, but the good news is that the power rests in your hands.
All it takes is 5 minutes each day to refresh and de-stress by meditating on the sacred mantra OM. If you’re finding it hard to prioritise some ‘me time’ amongst all your other commitments, trust me – your family will appreciate how unflappable you are afterwards.
WHAT IS OM?
So what is it about OM, I hear you ask? Well, OM – pronounced AUM – is the most powerful of all mantras. It’s the sound of the cosmos, the source of all creation. In the single syllable of OM lies the past, present and future – OM is beyond time itself and encompasses all levels of consciousness.
In the ancient yogic text, the Mundaka Upanishad, OM is described as the bow, the soul as the arrow, and Brahman or supreme consciousness as the target. OM represents unity – the ultimate goal of yoga – and chanting the sacred mantra unfolds a pathway to the higher self and reveals the true nature of the universe.
EFFECTS OF OM CHANTING
Our modern lifestyle is highly competitive, challenging and full of tensions. Daily happenings distract our attentiveness and concentration, depleting our energy reserves, causing stress and anxiety.
Concentrating on chanting OM slowly and continuously shifts our attention away from the external environment and the mind becomes calm, the body relaxes and the breath becomes smoother and slower.
Scientific studies back up these effects, which show mental repetition of OM can reduce heart and respiratory rates, induce a relaxation response and increase mental alertness. Regular practice is highly beneficial and effective in reducing stress.
These effects occur through stimulation of the vagus nerve, which controls the heart and lungs and modulates the body’s response to stress. Stress and anxiety have altered our breathing patterns so that we take short, shallow upper chest breaths.
Shallow breathing reinforces stress by decreasing the level of oxygen in the blood while increasing the level of carbon dioxide, so our body senses a need to breathe harder, producing additional tension. As these patterns become habitual, we can lose the ability to breathe deeply and naturally in stressful situations when we require it most.
Deep breathing is one of the simplest ways that we can relax and part of the reason why OM chanting is so effective at reducing stress. When we chant, our breathing rate naturally slows down and drawing the breath in from the abdomen relaxes tight muscles around the diaphragm. Blood vessels open up and the heart pumps more efficiently. This results in more oxygen being carried to every cell in our bodies including the brain.
A study of 23 healthy volunteers showed rhythmic mantra chanting synchronised natural cardiovascular rhythms when chanted six times a minute, inducing a state of physiological well-being.
The combination of mental alertness and physiological rest from chanting OM sweeps negative thoughts away and replenishes energy supplies, providing us with the strength and focus to face life’s ups and downs.
WHY YOU SHOULD START CHANTING OM
Nine reasons to start chanting OM today:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Peace, calmness, tranquillity
- Greater control over feelings and emotions
- Detoxifies and purifies the body
- Opens sinuses
- Keeps the heart healthy
- Improves blood pressure
- Stimulates metabolism
- Balances hormones
The best thing is you can chant OM anywhere, anytime. But don’t just take my word for it – try it out for yourself and allow your inner light to shine!
Hari Om Tat Sat